Our Career Development Office is staffed by nine attorney-counselors, each of whom has practiced law and can offer real-world insights into various career paths. They currently include an attorney for a nonprofit organization providing assistance to the poor, a former executive director of a grass roots advocacy organization for social change, a former government lawyer, a former partner in a large law firm, and a former small firm practitioner.
The counselors can help you create three years of custom-tailored education and experiences here at Berkeley Law that will help springboard you to your dream career.
Targeted Career Planning
We can help you explore a variety of legal career options—both traditional and nontraditional—and determine the best methods for pursuing those options.
Career planning for law students has two components:
- Exploration. You’ll learn about the types of opportunities compatible with your talents, work style, and lifestyle.
- Job search. The Career Development staff will help you target specific employers and conduct your job search.
Summer Jobs for First-Year Students
Most first-year students begin an active job search for summer internships during the spring semester.* Beginning in November and continuing through the spring semester, the office provides career-oriented programs and opportunities for first-year students.
Firms that employ first-year students for summer positions solicit student resumes. Other employers participate in a spring on-campus recruiting program.
* Pursuant to National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP) rules, first-year students and prospective employers cannot be in contact with each other prior to December 1. First-year students can begin to see career counselors after November 1.
The Career Development Office sponsors programs for all law students throughout the year on such topics as:
- Resume writing
- Interviewing skills
- The art of networking
- Job-search techniques for the public and private sectors
- Diversity in the legal profession
- Various legal practice areas
In the fall and spring of each year, Berkeley Law offers an extensive recruitment program that includes:
- Mock interviews, in which you can develop interviewing skills through simulated job interviews conducted and evaluated by practicing attorneys.
- On-campus employer interviews. Typically, more than 300 law firms, corporations, and government agencies interviewed second- and third-year students for summer and permanent employment. Most employers came from California, although firms from New York, Washington, and other cities around the United States, Europe, and Asia were also represented.
- Other job opportunities. Many employers—including some not represented at the on-campus event—regularly solicit resumes from students to fill their hiring needs each year.
Berkeley Law’s Career Development Office can help you take advantage of fellowship and employment opportunities targeted toward students interested in pursuing a career in the public or nonprofit sector.
Summer and Postgraduate Fellowships
Berkeley Law encourages students to experience public interest or public service law by making it financially feasible for every J.D. student to do summer legal work in this area.
Berkeley Law graduates are competitive candidates for all national legal postgraduate fellowships. Our graduates are regularly chosen as finalists for and recipients of prestigious fellowships sponsored by the Skadden Foundation, Equal Justice Works, Soros, New Voices, the Berkeley Law Foundation, and many others.
For summer 2012, fellowship funding was available through the Berkeley Law Summer Fellowship Program, which provides up to $6,000 of funding to all J.D. students who request the support and meet the program requirements. The requirements include, among other things, completing at least 25 hours of public service or pro bono work during the previous academic year. Students may use up to $4,000 of this funding during their first summer of public interest or public sector work, and may use the additional $2,000 during a second summer of eligible work. In addition to this $2,000 award, students completing a second summer of eligible work may compete for supplemental funding. In past years, students completing a second summer of public interest or public sector work have generally received funding of around $5,000 through the Berkeley Law Summer Fellowship Program and other funding sources.
Public Service Employment
Over the past couple of years, more than 20 percent of Berkeley Law graduates have gone on to public interest or government careers. Two career counselors are available full time to counsel students who are interested in public interest or public sector employment.
Students can also take advantage of these programs:
- Public Interest/Public Sector Internship and Career Fair. Every semester, the office hosts a major event focused on public interest careers. In the fall, 40 to 60 employers attend this session.
- Public Interest/Public Sector Career Day. PI/PS Day gives students a chance to establish contacts with public interest employers in the Bay Area. Each year, more than 100 public interest organizations and state and federal government agencies participate in this event to inform students and graduates about the nature of their work and employment opportunities. Berkeley Law co-sponsors this event along with the eight other Northern California law schools and OneJustice.
- Public Interest/Social Justice Mentor Program. Each year, nearly 50 first-year students are matched with practicing government and public interest attorneys. Students attend hearings, depositions, and negotiations, discovering what a day in the life of a public interest attorney can involve. Mentors are available to answer career-related questions and to provide networking contacts to students.
- Other Career Programs. Throughout the year, the office partners with various student organizations to present career programs focused on summer and postgraduate fellowships, judicial clerkships, international human rights work, and much more.
Berkeley Law also subscribes to the Public Service Jobs Directory (PSJD.org). This innovative national resource, formerly known as PSLawNet, helps law students across the country find positions with public interest organizations, government agencies, judges, and private firms with public interest or significant pro bono practices.
Career Development Library
In addition to the many practical guides and Web casts that enrolled students can access via the CDO website, we also maintain a library of print materials that include directories, periodicals, and other resources about the legal profession.
At the library, you will find information on:
- Employers’ hiring practices, salaries, benefits, gender and minority demographics, and more
- Judicial clerkships
- State and federal government agencies
- Public interest law organizations
- Graduate programs and fellowships
- Teaching opportunities
- Jobs for students and alumni (available in an extensive online database)
Click here for our latest Employment statistics.